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When I was planning the next stage of my Saxon Shore Way jaunt I noticed that the Isle of Sheppey was very close to the route. And so, since I’m still working on Project 101, I decided to keep this particular stage short, and visit the island while I was there.

The Isle of Sheppey

So to that end, I planned to walk from Sittingbourne to Swale then hop on the train to Queenborough Station and spend some time walking around the island and exploring.

I’m not going to write about the actual walk at this stage because I want to write up the other stages from when I started, so instead I’ll share my brief excursion to my 20th island and 66th bridge of some note.

I got a little more than I bargained for; a very hot day and a very well timed, albeit coincidental event.

I really wasn’t sure about visiting the island coz of reports I’d had from previous visitors, but an opportunity is to taken up at the time. I was pleasantly surprised.

Like most of the south east seaside towns, the spirit of the High Street has been lost and its mostly charity shops and cafΓ©s and adhoc shops with a few interesting independent shops interspersed. But I wasn’t here for the shopping…so onwards

Sheerness-on-Sea High Street

The clock tower is very pretty and I enjoyed a lot of the architecture.

The Clock Tower
A church
Some lovely houses
Loved these

A bonus windmill

After a short excursion through Sheerness-on-Sea, I headed for the beach planning on first cooling my feet in the sea (my daughter suggested I strip down to my underwear and go for a swim 🀣🀣🀣🀣πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ Don’t want to scare the locals!! Instead I just stood with my feet in the water…bliss!

Cool water blissful

And then because I’m insane and generally like punishing myself, I decided to walk along the promenade till it ran out and then walk inland to Minster-on-Sea. Why? Seriously. I do have some daft ideas. It was 25degrees and blazing hot, but I may never visit again, so….

The coastline is absolutely gorgeous, albeit mostly stones and little beach – ouch!!

I had planned on walking to that little promontory in the distance
Getting closer
But ultimately I walked much further. Was delighted to see this
That water was ever so inviting. I could quite easily have gone for a swim
Facing out to sea, in case the Vikings decide to invade the east coast again, they’ll be welcome πŸ˜€
Some pretty artwork where I turned inland

The bonus surprise came just before I left the Saxon Shore Way for the train station πŸš‰ to Sheppey. I was sitting on a lovely bench eating my lunch when I heard the warning signal and looked behind me. I noticed a section of the bridge being raised and then I saw the tanker making its way upstream…

The bonus

It reminded me of how Tower Bridge lifts when large vessels enter London Pool. Ever so exciting to watch these innovative feats of engineering. Lucky me.

My thoughts on the Isle of Sheppey? I loved it, and will return another day and spend more time walking, especially through the nature reserve.

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So hey….I did it!!! Yesterday; Faversham to Sittingbourne along the Saxon Shore Way 😁😁😁 9 hours. 30.06 km. Holy moly what a long day. If I add on the distance from home to the station and back, I can add on another 2.5 kms. The last time I walked 32km on any one day was 4 years ago on the Portuguese Camino in Spain…destination: Caldas de Reis. I swore to never do such a long walk ever again πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ Hah. I’m very comfortable with 16kms, so this is a bit of a stretch, but hey, it’s done. Now I can concentrate on the next section; Sittingbourne to Rochester….

I’ll do a proper write up in due course, but for now, what I really wanted to tell you about were all the abandoned boats I saw along the way; boats of all sizes, their rotting carcasses littering the creeks.

I wondered why they were abandoned? Who abandoned them? What were their names before being dumped, and why have they been left there to rot.

They are beautiful in their various stages of decay, but how sad. I’m sure they were beautiful craft at some time, sailing proudly along the channels, brightly painted, flags fluttering in the wind, decks alive with chatter.

And now, they’re lying there, forlorn and forgotten….too sad. This post is to honour all boats that get dumped and forgotten. In order of appearance, these boats were seen in Faversham Creek, Oare Creek, The Swale, Conyer Creek and Milton Creek.

I’d love to know their provenance and how long they’ve been lying there….

Long may they rest in pieces and provide food and homes for the fishes.

Extra image of previous two boats from a different angle.

I’ll try get my post up as soon as I’ve caught up with the Thames Path posts, the Pilgrim’s Way posts (2 years ago 😱πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ) and the initial stages of the Saxon Shore Way I’ve already walked. 🀞🀞🀞 Thank you for your patience 😁😁

And yes, after walking 30 kms, I’m feeling every. single. one. of. my. years. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ but lots of vitamin C, Aloe Heat Lotion paracetamol and feet up…I’ll be right as rain…πŸ˜‰

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When we first moved to the coast in 2016, travelling from London to Broadstairs on the train, past all the stations enroute, I remember being intrigued by the places behind the names, and excited about the possibility of exploring them all….and that was only those north of my destination. I subsequently discovered many more, south of Broadstairs.

sunrise over Viking Bay, Broadstairs
sunrise over Viking Bay, Broadstairs

I have since then been to all of the seaside towns, either by train or when out walking the coastline, as well as to many of the more inland places. They are all awash with centuries of history, and many of these villages, towns and the City of Canterbury, are mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book. It is just phenomenal and I am constantly in thrall to the many layers uncovered during my research.

Faversham, along with Broadstairs, Canterbury, Sandwich and Dover are my favourite places to go….castles, Saints, Normans, Vikings, abbeys, a cathedral, ancient churches, historic houses, medieval houses, famous people and royal visits and tales of smugglers – who could resist!!

chalk cliffs kent, the tartar frigate pub broadstairs, walks of england, coastal walks of england
a network of smugglers tunnels wind their way below ground in Broadstairs

I first met Faversham on my Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales walk in 2017 (as mentioned in a previous blog), and although the memories are of blistered feet and muddy shoes, I still have fond feelings for the place 🀣🀣

So since I mentioned it briefly yesterday, I thought I should expand on that and tell you more about this ever so fabulous and famous town, a town that missed out on being a city thanks to a small detail….it doesn’t have a cathedral (or a castle for that matter). Oh the semantics…

Faversham; Old English origin, meaning “the metal-worker’s village” lies next to the Swale, a strip of sea separating mainland Kent from the Isle of Sheppey in the Thames Estuary. There has been a settlement at Faversham since pre-Roman times, next to the ancient sea port on Faversham Creek, and was inhabited by the Saxons.

One of Henry VIII’s boats perchance??

Fefresham was held in royal demesne in 811, and is further cited in a charter granted by Coenwulf, the King of Mercia. Coenwulf described the town as ‘the King’s little town of Fefresham’, while it was recorded in the Domesday Book as Favreshant.

Mentioned as Favreshant in the 1086 Domesday Book, Faversham was noted as : King’s land, with 2 salthouses, a mill and a market; a market town and small port.

Faversham was used as a summer residence by the Kings and Queens of Kent, and has many other royal connections; Stephen (1092 or 1096 – 25 October 1154), often referred to as Stephen of Blois, was King of England from 22 December 1135 to his death in 1154 and was buried in Faversham Abbey. However, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538, most of the abbey was demolished, and the remains of Stephen were rumoured to have been thrown into Faversham Creek along with his consort and son who were buried with him. Subsequent excavations revealed empty tombs when they were opened.

Abbey Street was constructed around 1201 in order to provide an appropriate approach to the abbey from the town, and still houses timber framed buildings; described as “the finest medieval street in southeast England”.

Medieval buildings in Abbey Street

A royal visit by Queen Elizabeth I in 1573

Location of the Guildhall during Elizabeth I’s reign
Current Guildhall – built as a market hall in 1574 by the people of the town and nearby parishes, converted into the Guildhall in 1605

Faversham was established as a link arm to the Confederation of Cinque Ports as the (Limb of Dover).

The Shippe Inn

Other famous people linked to Faversham (besides me, that is πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ˜‰)

Richard Arden, a 16th century mayor, was murdered by his wife and her lover. Nice πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

There are some fantastic buildings surrounding the market place

Faversham also lies on the old Saxon Shore Way route between Gravesend on the river Thames near City of London and Hastings on England’s south east coast and known for the ‘Battle of Hastings’ which is when William the Conqueror defeated King Harald in 1066. William the Conqueror is responsible for the ‘Great Survey’ of England; the Domesday Book completed in 1086.

The Saxon Shore Way, a long-distance footpath of 163 miles in England, starts at Gravesend and traces the coast of SE-England as it was in Roman times, as far as Hastings in East Sussex. There are a couple of places where the route runs inland; around what was the Isle of Thanet – once separate from mainland England by the River Wantsum, and again on the south coast past Folkestone.

That’s us, the island on the right πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

Some 5,000 years ago Thanet was separated from mainland Britain by 600 metres of sea – The Wantsum Channel, it is now connected again since the river/channel silted up some time ago.

When the English Channel was formed by the sea breaking through, an island of chalk was left on the east side of the county – now known as the Isle of Thanet.

The Wantsum Channel today

The SSW follows the creek inland from The Swale and into Faversham and then back out again from the opposite bank and once again follows The Swale and into the Thames river at Gravesend. Since I’ve already walked so many sections of the SSW on my various walks, it makes sense for me to actually do the whole route…one day LOL I mean it’s not like I don’t have about 100 other walks to do and I have LOADS of time on my hands ….as if 🀣🀣🀣

Faversham is located on the main road between the City of London and Dover and therefore became an important stop over for travellers between the Port of London and the Port of Dover. As a result of this inns were of paramount importance and today you can see and stay at one at least one such…The Sun Inn. Seriously one of my favourite ‘places I stayed’ on my many walks. It had everything I needed after arriving drenched and in pain. A massive double bed, a huge bath and fluffy white towels. Perfect.

the sun inn faversham
The Sun Inn, Faversham – best room and bath ever
The Sun Inn, Faversham - Day 3 Rochester to Faversham
The Sun Inn, Faversham – Day 3 Rochester to Faversham

Faversham truly is awash with history and I could write up so much more, but this is already quite a long post, so for now I’ll just add one more photo

history of faversham
historic buildings of Faversham

Okay, make it two photos LOL – the architecture is so varied that if you’re a fan of architecture you could spend the whole day walking around and still find more to see

architecture in faversham
architecture in Faversham

I’m sure to visit Faversham again when I start the next section of my insane intention of walking the entire English Coast and of course the Saxon Shore Way….now that my interest has been well and truly piqued. I’ll tell you more about it then…meanwhile…

Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to read about my adventures, I really do appreciate your time and support. Have a fab day/afternoon/evening wherever you may be in the world. 🌍🌎🌏

In case you’re interested: more about my Canterbury Tales Walk from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral (p.s. please don’t feel obliged to read any of them, it’s just in case you’re interested).

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2011/02/20/the-start-of-my-pilgrims-journey-in-the-footsteps-of-chaucer/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/07/06/the-prelude-southwark-to-canterbury/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/07/07/prelude-day-1-southwark/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/07/09/prelude-day-2-southwark-and-the-city-of-london/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2011/03/10/my-canterbury-tales-12th-february-day-1/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2011/03/26/my-canterbury-tales-february-13th-day-two/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/03/arriving-in-rochester/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/08/day-3-rochester-to-faversham-part-1/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/09/day-3-rochester-to-faversham-part-2/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/14/faverham-to-canterbury-the-finale/

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Oh my goddess I’ve found a new long distance walk to do!! πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ I was doing some research on distances between towns for my ongoing quest to walk the whole England coast over the next 5 years (I blame it on the moon) and found the whole route for the Saxon Shore Way.

I’ve touched on the route during some of my previous excursions, but I didn’t realise just how long it was and how far it extended. Sigh..you just know I’m going to have to walk it πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

The 160 mile / 257 km route starts in Gravesend on the banks of the River Thames in North Kent and ends in the colourful seaside town of Hastings in East Sussex. The route goes inland somewhere near Reculver and bypasses Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate and again from Folkestone to Rye/Camber but the rest of the route offers some of the finest coastal walking in England.

The reason the route bypasses Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate is due to the fact that they’re all on what was, and is still referred to as the Isle of Thanet, which used to be separated from the mainland by the Wantsum Channel up until 1550, by which time the river had silted up and was no longer navigable. And of course the Saxons were here from mid 5th century, so the route they created would have followed the then mainland coast.

According to wikipedia: The River Wantsum is a tributary of the River Stour, in Kent, England. Formerly, the River Wantsum and the River Stour together formed the Wantsum Channel, which separated the Isle of Thanet from the mainland of Kent. Now the River Wantsum is little more than a drainage ditch starting at Reculver, and ending where it joins the Stour.

I’ve walked small sections of the Saxon Shore Way when I followed Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales route to Canterbury via Sittingbourne and Faversham, again when I followed St Augustine’s Way from Ramsgate to Canterbury and again more recently when I walked from Sandwich to Dover.

Saxon Shore Way, Sandwich

I’m gonna have to stop working so I can do all these walks πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ€­πŸ€­

The header image is of Gravesend on the Thames from when I walked Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral…my very first long-distance walks, along which I learned some really good lessons – like to never walk in wet socks πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ‘£πŸ§¦πŸ‘£πŸ§¦

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